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Transforming post compulsory eduation? Femocrats at work in the academy.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Women's Studies International Forum
Issue number2
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)153-166
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article is based on interviews with 40 women academic managers in United Kingdom further and higher education institutions, all of whom described themselves as feminists or were strongly committed to equal opportunities. The article examines the potential for such manager-academics to act as change agents and engage in transformations of post-compulsory education, moving beyond both old-fashioned collegiality and ‘new managerialism’. Considerable differences seemed to exist in the organisational cultures, management strategies, labour processes and working conditions of institutions of further education (FE) as compared with higher education (HE). The two sectors have been differentially exposed to economic pressures, competition for students and permeation of management practices and values from the private sector, with all of these more intensely felt in FE. In addition, the project identified quite different degrees of exposure to feminisms and Women's Studies of women working in the two sectors. One of the consequences of these differences in the two sectors is that those working in FE are more hesitant about openly revealing and using their feminist or pro-equity values to shape and inform their managerial strategies and goals. This article considers the pressures on academic managers to adopt the values and practices of private sector in forms of ‘new managerialism’ and analyses what role feminists might play in resisting this. Some feminist academic managers, mainly those working in HE senior positions, do appear to have the potential to transform their institutions in feminist-inspired ways. More collaboration between feminists working in different sectors of post-compulsory higher education might facilitate this. Though based in the United Kingdom, the study has implications for feminist manager-academics working in other countries too.